For Jean F. Springer of Ocean View, poetry has always been her vice – one now 40 years in the making. Ever since she was a young girl, she would write poem after poem – a passion she picked up from her mother. Now, what was once an infatuation has developed into a success story, as her second publication started hitting the shelves only weeks ago.
“Bailey’s Day,” an illustrated children’s book of poetry, is Springer’s second book to hit stores throughout southeastern Delaware and beyond. Her first, “The Peppermint Elephant,” debuted in 2005 and proved to be a hit among younger generations. While her first book was geared primarily to children from 4 to 7 years old, “Bailey’s Day,” rated for readers from 4 to 8, offers activities and coloring opportunities throughout the story, catering to children who are slightly older.
“The stories seem to just come to my head,” explained Springer of her inspiration.
Though she worked as a Realtor in Washington, D.C., and as an executive secretary before that, Springer knew that her love of poetry would be one thing that stuck with her for years to come.
“I always had fun writing them when I was younger,” she said, “and I thought it’d be nice to do a book on one. ‘The Peppermint Elephant’ was one of my most whimsical poems, so it was easy to turn that into a story.”
“Bailey’s Day” tells the story of a little girl named Bailey, who lives with her grandparents on a farm, far away from her friends. But just a short distance from her grandparents’ house is a small petting zoo, which Bailey visits frequently and where she comes to be friends with the animals. And when her birthday arrives, the animals decide to do something special for Bailey’s big day.
Spring said she believes illustration is a fine art in itself and, continuing her contribution to the younger generations, she welcomed talented youngsters to assist in her projects. High school seniors pursuing careers in art helped with both books, providing full illustrations for the story. Maggie Sheehan illustrated “Bailey’s Day,” while Jill Ashley illustrated “The Peppermint Elephant.”
“I wanted to give a leg up to students who enjoy doing this,” she said. “I wanted to really help them.” Both girls who helped with the books have jump-started their careers, thanks to Springer’s projects.
Aside from children’s poetry, Springer keeps herself entertained by writing romantic poems and inspirational music.
“A lot of stuff comes to me while lying in bed,” she noted. “I’ll get something in my head and just put it together.”
“Bailey’s Day” and “The Peppermint Elephant” have already hit shelves through lower Delaware, popping up in Books by the Bay in Lewes and Patti’s Hallmark in the Millville Shopping Center, as well as on Amazon.com. Both books will be carried in Bethany Beach Books and Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach later this spring.